SNL: S06E08... HOST: ROBERT HAYS... DATE: JANUARY 24, 1981

or...

Finally, Another Comedic Host To Be Ignore!!!

It seems that every season I have something that I obsess over. In season one, I was obsessed with how much Saturday Night Love was more of a variety show over the strictly sketch format it's grown to be. Then season two came and I was obsessed with how much more I liked the show after Chevy Chase left, not that I didn't like the show or Chevy on the show, I was just surprised at how much more I like him and the show after he left. 

Then season three came and when. I can't remember what I was obsessed with because I can't remember the season because the season was so consistent and good there wasn't one big thing that stood out to me. This was probably the best season even though I liked seasons two and five better.

This wasn't the case with season four, no, this was my least favorite season so far and I blame it on the fact that the sketches started to get longer in a boring way and how too many of the sketches seemed more real deal dramatic with a joke in the middle and end where neither were strong enough to save the day. During season five, I was obsessed with just how much I loved it, and why I think I loved it more than I should have only because it followed such a shitty season.

During this current season, I find the common theme is how much I love this cast even though they are supposed to be hated while at the same time finding evidence as to how this reputation began. So far, I've found a bunch of reason that you can read in other reviews from this season and tonight I've come up with another reason as to why this might be the case.

Keep in mind this flaw came to me because I had high hopes for this episode. Since the movie Airplane had already been made at this point, I was excited to see one of my favorite comedic actors from childhood host my favorite show, only to end up watching one of the most mediocre episodes so far.

Even though this episode highlighted the issue, I've had the same observations in the past. That observation being that this season treats the host more like Mad TV than like you'd expect from SNL. Though I am a fan of Mad TV, I always found it funny when they claimed to have a host that would only show up a maximum of two times before calling it a night.

I don't really have a problem with this approach by I would argue that this is why both this season and the entire run of Mad TV are as memorable as they should be. In Mad TV no season stands out because you can't use the hosts for scale. In season six of SNL, I've seen multiple times where the hosts were on screen and not even given a line.

I feel the cast first approach to sketch comedy does work if you get rid of the host altogether, but when it's a show like this that's meant to show the hot shot celebrity of the day in a different light they need to be the star of the show and I think they dropped the ball and dropped it very poorly.

Alright, enough coming up with today's theory, now it's time to move on to what I saw as I give you...

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. The show starts with a special report entitled America Not Held Hostage Anymore hosted by Ted Koppel where he talks about the release of the American hostages from Iran and the shows plan to continue on in an attempt to keep the rating from the tragedy going by following the hostages after their release. We then see a sample of what this would look like before Koppel throws to the next segment by announcing, "Live from New York..."
  2. Robert Hays then opens the show by informing the audience that there will be an instant rating meter to provide live feedback on the success of the episode. Robert goes on to question the intelligence of this anonymous at-home-raters which cause his numbers to rapidly drop, and then drop more as he flounders to save himself.
  3. This was followed by a parody ad for corn, with a Native American woman selling a magic mushroom spread.
  4. Next, we have a parody of Love American Style where Robert sits alone on the couch until he is greeted by an inflatable date that talks dirty when you pull the string. At first, he isn't all that interested but gets caught up in the sting pulled induced conversation but then gets turned off again when she informs him that he has to pay and we meet her inflatable pimp.
  5. Joe Piscopo then gets an entire segment to himself to cover the world of sports where he covers an Atari event where Eddie pilots the ship from Asteroids.
  6. This was followed by a fake ad for Ronald and Nancy Reagan wallpaper, floor tiles and much much more.
  7. Save-A-Network Telethon is a Telethon that's an attempt to raise the money to save NBC. They are not asking for money but for ideas for new programming. They give an actually 800 number with no 555 so I wonder if they were actually accepting ideas to steal and turn into SNL content making the reality of the sketch to only be a half joke.
  8. Pre-Super Bowl Pre-Game Preview was a parody where all they do is hype the event, in general, using vagaries without ever giving a single specific about this year's competing teams.
  9. We then get a short film called The Foreign Film that parodies the overall foreign genre while the actors just make up their own silly languages and there doesn't seem to be and real story.
  10. Next, we go to a funeral where the mortician informs the wife of the deceased that they organist got sick and they are waiting for the replacement in order to start the services. We then meet this new organist who happens to be the guy who for arena-based sporting events like soccer or hockey and it shows.
  11. Once again, Rocket and Gail give us the news. This week, we get a visit from the "Ayatollah" who's just a mannequin so he doesn't say a word, Ann does a segment on fashion for the engineering students, as always, Piscopo gives us the sports, and Eddie Murphy does a segment about a weed deal gone bad where he ended up with an Iranian hostage after his weed dealer didn't come through with the pot.
  12. We then go to a disco club where Denny sings Disco Meltdown. It turns out this is a fake ad for a club down by the nuclear power plant.
  13. In this week's Rocket Report, Rocket reports from D.C. where he tries to get information on the new president as he breaks down his average day. Though I like how they use random footage they shot to create a narrative, I miss the man on the street interviews from the first couple Rocket Reports.
  14. This was followed by a fake ad for the Pacemaker which is pretty much a shock collar for zapping stage actors when their pacing makes an otherwise good play boring.
  15. We then get another fake ad for a fake album this ad is for a new album from Ravi Shankar who is singing the day's greatest hits.
  16. We then go back to the hair salon we were introduced to when Jamie Lee Curtis hosted. Jamie Lee's mom from the sketch is bickering with the hairstylist about politics. The two keep their differences civil but talk trash about one another as the sketch gets meta and they speak to the camera off to the side.
  17. Eddie Murphy then announces his promotion to be an official cast member, bringing the total to seven while openly admitting that he's not sure how it will affect his ego.
  18. Dream Date is yet another fake ad where you can get $40,000 and the chance to date anyone you want by sending $40,000 to enter a contest.
  19. Ordinary Elephant People is a sketch that follows a family of people with bags on their hea ala the Elephant Man, as they enjoy their evening meal together.ds
  20. 14 Karat Soul hits the stage to perform I Wish That We Were Married and This Time It's For Real, back to back.
  21. We then go to an editor's meeting at the National Enquirer where the writers pitch the crazy ass stories that were often mocked at the time but went on to build a pretty powerful brand. 
  22. Joe "King" Carrasco And The Crowns then hit the stage to perform Don't Bug Me Baby.
  23. Finally, Robert Hays closes the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights while Gail almost loses her top when Ann jokingly shoves Robert after he tells a joke of his own. 

I know I already covered this up above but of the episodes this season, I really think they dropped the ball with Robert Hays because I really had to struggle to find my favorite moments and I was really looking forward to this one because of how much I love the movie airplane but here's what I managed to come up with.

First, I loved the Love American Style parody because Hays's interaction with the inflatable love doll was very reminiscent of the above mentioned Airplane. Then, I liked Ordinary Elephant People because I'm a fan of the Elephant Man and I'm desperate to find my favorites. Finally, I was a fan of the fake ad for the magic mushroom spread but more due to the fact that I'm a fan of the drug and not so much the portrayal of Native Americans. 

Matt Bunker

I started out with a goal of becoming a paid screenwriter. I had no interest in any other aspect of filmmaking. I received and scholarship to The Vancouver Film School's Writing for Film and Television program where I graduated in 2005. I fell in love with being on set during my first non-school produced short, . I loved being around all the creative people, seeing people having fun while working. The whole liking your job was a new world to me, so I decided to give it a shot. I volunteered for any project I could, doing what ever was needed. The set was my Film School this time. While working as a PA on a feature I was informed that the DP wanted the three tallest PAs to help out in the grip and electric department. That is when I found the department that felt like the best fit for me while I continued to write.